- the Istituto Italiano di Idrobiologia "Dott. Marco de Marchi" was established as a foundation to plan, conduct, and facilitate inland freshwater research
- Rina Monti
- One of the foremost pioneering limnologists of the early 20th century.
The first Italian woman to hold a permanent university professorship. She inspired the limnological studies in Italy and contributed to the establishment of the Istituto Italiano di Idrobiologia.
- Edgardo Baldi
- the first director of the institute (1939-1951.
To perpetuate his memory, a prestigious lecture – The Baldi Memorial Lecture – has been given at the initial General Assembly of the International Society of Limnology Congress since 1952.
…and in 1940 research activity started in the “De Marchi” Villa in Pallanza.
- Adriano Buzzati Traverso
- Brother of the famous writer Dino Buzzati.
- Luca Luigi Cavalli Sforza
- Emeritus professor at Stanford University, California. Two distinguished geneticists who started their research activity at the Pallanza Institute.
- Giuseppe Ramazzotti
- One of the world experts on the Phylum Tardigrada
The Tonollis' Leadership
"I can say, not only on my own behalf, that no two people have done so much for limnologists as well as for limnology" Hutchinson 1967, A treatise on Limnology. II Introduction to lake biology and the limnoplankton. Wiley & Sons Inc. NY
…in 1977, Under the direction of Prof. Livia Tonolli the Institute became part of the National Research Council.
- Vittorio Tonolli
- director from 1951 to 1967
- Livia Tonolli Pirocchi
- director from 1967 to 1979
The subsequent directors
- Prof. Ettore Grimaldi
- director from 1979 to 1983
- Dr Riccardo de Bernardi
- director from 1983 to 2005
- Dr Rosario Mosello
- director from 2006 to 2013
- Dr Piero Guilizzoni
- director from 2013 to 2014
- Dr Marina M. Manca
- director from 2014 to 2016
- Dr Giuseppe Torzillo
- director from 2016 to 2018
- Dr Aldo Marchetto
- director in 2018
4 October 2005: the institute was visited by the President of the Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi (here with the former Director Riccardo de Bernardi).
In 2001, under the reorganization of the National Research Council (CNR) the Istituto Italiano di Idrobiologia became the Institute of Ecosystem Study, incorporating other CNR institutes in Pisa, Firenze and Sassari.
On 19 September 2018, following another internal restructuring of the Italian National Research Council, the Institute of the Ecosystem Study of Verbania changed its name, becoming part of the Water Research Institute (IRSA).
The Institute grew out of almost seventy years of limnology initiated by Edgardo Baldi, Vittorio and Livia Tonolli, who founded the modern limnology in Italy through extensive descriptive and comparative studies.
The vision statement of the Pallanza Institute was translated from Bertoni (2005) – CNR ISE Storia per immagini, Verbania.